Can Dry Feet Be a Sign of Health Problems?
Did you know that your feet can speak volumes about your health? Dry skin, corns, bunions, calluses and blisters don’t just prevent us from wearing sandals confidently. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), skin complications are often one of the first signs that you’re suffering from diabetes. While dry skin and fungal infections can affect anyone, diabetics are most likely to suffer from these particular issues due to reduced blood flow to the legs, feet and other parts of the body. However, certain conditions such as diabetic blisters and diabetic dermopathy (also called shin spots) are unique to individuals suffering from this health condition. If your feet appear or feel unhealthy, consultation with a physician is critical
If You’ve Already Been Diagnosed With Diabetes
Existing diabetics should ensure their doctors carefully examine their feet at each wellness visit, which the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends on a quarterly basis. Immediately contact your physician if you develop any new issues with you feet or legs, including the following:
- Dramatic changes in the appearance or the skin or toenails
- A loss of sensation
- Persistent tingling
- Dry skin
The CDC reports that adults 45 or older with diabetes are 10 times as likely to lose a leg or foot to amputation as individuals without diabetes. Regular preventative care and a proactive approach to managing your diabetes, supervised by a physician, are crucial to maintaining healthy feet.
Best Practices for At-Home Foot Care
Both diabetics and non-diabetics should inspect their feet and practice good hygiene daily. If you are unable to visually inspect your feet, enlist a spouse, friend or roommate to assist you. Proper-fitting shoes are critical for maintaining good circulation, and the ADA reports that Medicaid may cover the costs associated with special shoes for individuals suffering from diabetes or some other foot conditions.
Preventing Diabetes and Identifying Risk Factors
Finally, to prevent diabetes, engage in healthy lifestyle habits on a regular basis. Eat healthy foods, drink plenty of water and exercise regularly. Avoid smoking, which can restrict blood circulation. A licensed physician can identify whether your risk for developing diabetes is high, moderate or low, and recommend appropriate diet and exercise programs.